Celtics Down Rockets: Tracy McGrady Unimpressive in Loss

Luigi TollisCorrespondent IMarch 18, 2008

Today is national hangover day.  The day after St Patty's day, is also the day that most Americans awake with a butterfly in the stomach, and a jackhammer in the head.

The Celtics were impressive on St Patty's day, coming back from being 22 down against the defending champion Spurs.  There were fears that they too would be suffering from a hangover.

The greatest thing about this evening's win is the fact that as sports fans, we no longer need to hear prognostications about Houston's win streak.  It was a remarkable run by the Rockets, but did anyone really think they'd keep it up past this current stretch of games?

The Celtics won tonight, based mostly on their vastly improved defense which held Tracy McGrady to eight points, seven boards, and eight dimes.  Respectable for a sixth man, dissappointing if you're a superstar.

It's easy to look at the box score and figure out that the C's won on the back of KG or Pierce, or even Leon Poe's contribution off the bench.  It probably was those factors, but the real story hear was the C's defense.  The Celtics held the Rockets to 41% from the field, which is right on track with their league leading opponent fg % of .417.  The Rockets couldn't even get any help from beyond the arc, hitting 26% of their attempts, down from their season avg of .345.

The Celtics are now 8-1 in the month of March, and on pace for 65 wins.  They may not reach 65, and hell, I hate projected win totals or even saying a team or player is on pace for something.  But, its an interesting stat considering this team did nothing last year to make the bitter cold of a New England winter any less bleak.  Now most of that team is losing in another city, and Boston is anticipating banner 17 getting raised to the rafters.

 A word of warning C's fans, don't reserve your seats at the victory parade just yet.  If anything, the Pats gave the region a hard lesson in humility in the first week of February.

The Celtics will still have to beat the Pistons and Cavs in the playoffs, with the possibility of Orlando looming on the horizon as a potential upset.  I'm not saying that's going to happen, but a nagging injury or two, some bad calls and your 2008 NBA champion may be...the Orlando Magic? 

No, the Magic won't be holding the trophy as the confetti falls.  I was lying.  They really don't have a shot in hell of surviving the East, never mind upsetting a team like the Lakers or Hornets.  I'm also pretty sure that David Stern has rigged it so the Lakers play the Celtics in the finals to divert everyone's attention away from the fact that a team is being stolen from the good fans of Seattle and brought to that basketball haven, Oklahoma City.  It's alright though, because the Celtics are playing the Lakers!  The NBA, where the cloth getting pulled over your eyes happens.

A few quick notes from tonight's game:

Rajon Rondo was 0 for his first 7 shots.  He finished the game 4-12, or for you math challenged, he hit his next 4 of 5 shots.

James Posey had zero points.  He did, however, have ten boards and played some great defense.

Luis Scola had 15 and eight, and one technical foul when he sent Tony Allen crashing to the floor when Allen went in for a dunk along the baseline.  Allen did not play the rest of the game after hitting both free throws.  It appeared that he had a bruised tail bone, but don't hold me to that. 

Skip to my Lou (Rafer Alston) had twelve points and only one assist.